The addition of Kristaps Porzingis to the Boston Celtics was undoubtedly their biggest offseason move. Adding a stretch-five to their already dynamic star wing talent gave the guys in a green an offensive buzz-saw before the season had even begun. Over the last several years the Celtics have found methods of success with big men that stretched the dimensions of the game both vertically and horizontally, Porzingis brought both to the court with his sheer size, and his willingness and ability to shoot from three.
Nearing the All-Star break, Porzingis has played 37 games and has been one of the key drivers of success for this Celtics team. As predicted, he has stretched the court. Despite averaging a little below the NBA average, his shooting is still a threat that demands respect from defenses.
However, Porzingis's greatest asset offensively has actually come from none other than the post, and it's probably being underutilized. Porzingis averages 3.1 post touches per game and 5.9 paint touches. These touches aren't all that frequent but they are efficient. Porzingis is scoring 1.07 points per post-up, which is best among players with at least 3 post-ups per game. Within five feet of the rim, Porzingis is averaging 76.6 percent shooting, putting him in the 98th percentile per dunksandthrees.com.
Porzingis's post abilities aren't exactly a secret given his height and athletic advantages, But they also weren't what he was known for. They've also never been this good before. His shooting at the rim is a career-high, and this is the first time he's averaged above one point per possession on post-ups.
What this efficiency gives the Celtics is another option in times when they need a bucket. An option that isn't just letting Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown iso. This will be especially handy in the playoffs when things slow down and offenses can get clogged. Getting the ball quickly to Porzingis with his scoring ability will open things up for him and the other four guys if it's used correctly. Ironically, it's a way to space the floor that isn't spacing the floor. It makes use of a post player's internal gravity that can make defenses sink in. The offense then makes use of clever cutting which can generate a plethora of open looks.
Kristaps Porzingis quietly making an impact for Boston Celtics
The beauty of this is that Porzingis's post-scoring has improved so much and so quietly along with everything else in the Celtics' tool bag, that it's almost happened in secret, hiding in plain sight.
What it all comes down to is that Porzingis is an integral piece of this Celtics team. A fact that is reflected by his +4.4 estimated plus-minus per dunksandthrees.com. Boston is all in, going for Banner 18 and it's daunting to think that Porzingis's incredibly efficient post-scoring is just one aspect of this team's offensive capabilities; yet just the threat of it opens up so many options.